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Everything posted by victoriabunny

  1. You want to speak to Karen at Ross Rabbits - French lop expert, bar none! www.rossrabbits.co.uk
  2. You don't, is the short answer. Rabbits don't take themselves to bed in the same way as chickens or guinea pigs do. They will prefer to sit in the run all year round - especially if as many do, they use the house as a littertray - they won't want to sleep where they poo and forcing them to do so will distress them. This is a flaw with the eglu for rabbits in my opinion as most seem to instinctively use it as a toilet, and won't therefore use it as a house even in bad weather but there isn't anywhere else sheltered for them to sleep (in a conventional hutch, they can at least pick a corner for toileting in and take shelter in another area). You mustn't shut them in the house as it is far too small - rabbits must not be enclosed in a space less than 5 feet by 2 feet. So your options are either let them stay out all night - they will probably choose this even in a blizzard if the house is their littertray - and make the run as sheltered as possible for them (put a shower curtain over it, and you could try giving them a covered box or something in the run but they may not use it) or get them a hutch at least 5 feet long to shut them in at night, before transferring them to the eglu in the morning. When I had mine in an eglu they always chose to sit outside, even in the rain, because the house was their toilet. When I switched them to a hutch, they had a littertray in the corner and would sleep on the opposite side as far away as possible. I propped the hutch door open in the day so they could come and go as they pleased - they always chose to go in during the rain which suggests they don't like sitting in it, but they hate sitting in their toilet (ie the eglu) even more. Personally I wouldn't keep rabbits in an eglu again for that reason - in effect it forces them to sit outside as they won't sleep in their toilet, and getting them to use a different area to toilet in is very difficult.
  3. Still leave it open 24/7, whatever the weather. I think it's a definite design flaw of the eglu - it looks huge from the outside, but if you measure the dimensions of the actual littertray (which is after all the only part the rabbits actually sit in) it's really very small. There was barely room for my 2 mini lops to stretch out fully when I had one, and I would think it's too small for any rabbit bigger than this to stretch out. So they must certainly never be locked in - you wouldn't shut them up in a little box, which is the equivalent! If you're worried, get a 5-foot hutch and shut them in there at night before transferring them to the eglu in the morning.
  4. If you're talking about an eglu, please never shut them in - the house itself is far too small for rabbits to be confined for any length of time (hutches in which rabbits are confined should be a minumum 5 feet long). The eglu and run together are designed to be foxproof so there is no need - and most rabbits prefer to camp outside at night time anyway.
  5. Don't panic. You don't need to separate them at all, as long as you get your boy castrated as soon as his testicles descend (usually between 14-18 weeks - start checking daily). They will appear as obvious little lumps in his nether regions (compare his bits to his girlfriends'!), and your vet can check if you're unsure. As soon as they're there, he's ready for his op. He will need to be kept indoors for 24 hours following surgery (borrow an indoor cage or put him in a cat carrier, something like that) and then can be reunited with his girlfriend. If you castrate him promptly, there is no risk of pregnancy as he won't have sperm stored in his tubes. An adult male who is castrated after puberty must be kept separate for a month from all females as there can still be live sperm hanging about for that time, but that won't apply to your bun as long as it's done as soon as those testicles are there. Also, for added insurance your girl will reach puberty a bit later and won't be able to get pregnant just yet (she needs spaying when she gets to be around 6 months old). I did this with my mixed-sex pair on the advice of the breeder with no problems at all (and no pregnancy!). It's better not to separate them if you can as bunnies forget each other after a few days and they may fight when reintroduced. Make sure you have a bunny-savvy vet - some are daft and insist males have to be 6 months old before castration, but this is not true at all - they can be done as soon as puberty hits, and if you did wait til 6 months he would have to spend a month away from his lady, which you don't want.
  6. I have no idea about this one, but my friend has a large covered run for her chickens with a coop attached and wants to put a hutch in the run too. The rabbits/chickens would have daily access to the run and also be able to free-range in the garden when she's home. What do you think?
  7. I would definitely get him a girlfriend. Rabbits are very social animals and need bunny company - he will be over the moon. The good news is it's much easier to introduce a girl to an established boy than the other way round. Is he neutered? If not, get this done first and you will then need to wait at least a month as there could still be viable sperm hanging round his tubes for up to this time. Once that time has passed, he's ready for a girlfriend. Introduce them first on neutral territory - somewhere he's never been (a room in the house, or failing that the bathtub can be ideal!) Just put them together and leave them to it, watching them all the time. A few scuffles at first is to be expected - unless it turns into real biting, let them get on with it. They will need to establish who is the dominant one (chances are it will be the new girl). If one of them mounts the other, that's a sign that he/she is dominant. Don't worry about this, it's normal behaviour. One of them has to be, and the sooner they work it out, the happier they will be. When they lie down next to each other or lick each other, they have bonded and you can safely leave them together all the time. If this doesn't happen in their first meeting, house them separately for the time being and keep doing daily supervised introductions. Eventually they will get on, promise. When your girl is 6 months old, get her spayed even though your boy will have been done - it will stop her from getting stroppy and hormonal (bunnies get very bad PMS!) and also eliminate the risk of uterine cancer, which is sadly extremely common in rabbits.
  8. Do you weigh the dry food he gets? I'd get him on excel lite (won't do the other one any harm to eat it) and weigh it out carefully. Don't give him any more than the pack says he should get in 24 hours. Encourage him to eat as much hay as possible instead of munching on pellets. Don't give carrots or sweetcorn either, very fattening.
  9. He's in love with her already! That bowing-down posture is classic - it means he's already accepted she's the boss and is quite happy about it Fingers crossed she feels the same way, keep us posted! (and I agree about the name, what have you decided on?)
  10. My immediate thought is you need to find a more rabbit-savvy vet as a matter of urgency...male rabbits can be castrated as soon as their testicles have descended, which for most is around 14-16 weeks of age (it will be obvious when it happens - keep checking between their legs!). The sooner they are done the better in terms of calming them down. I am afraid you have been given bad advice though...you can never rely on two males getting on, even when both are castrated. It can happen, but it's by no means guaranteed and a lot of partnerships start well but develop into fighting once puberty hits. I would get them neutered asap (yours should be ready by now) and then try them again, but it may be a relationship that's never going to work I'm afraid. If you have the room to house them separately, once their operation sites have healed they could both have a girlfriend introduced (they will get on with a girl, and it's much easier to introduce a girl to a boy than a boy to a girl as girls are more territorial). If you haven't got the room for this then unfortunately you may have to rehome one of them and get a girlfriend for the other. Whatever you do, I would do your best to keep them with a female as buns are very lonely and unhappy when kept as solitary animals.
  11. Lettuce isn't good for buns as it has a diuretic in it. It can also make them prone to diarrhoea. How old are your babies? If they are less than 12-14 weeks I wouldn't be giving them any veg yet - their digestive systems are too immature. Stick to dry food and hay at first and then very gradually introduce tiny bits of veg, starting with grass. An outbreak of diarrhoea at that age could kill them.
  12. I would avoid all veg and give him minimal dry food for a few days to encourage him to eat as much hay as possible. If you can get hold of some avipro for his drinking water (PaH sell it I think) that would be good too. It's probably stress - keep him cool and quiet and give him something to hide in, or drape a towel over half his cage then he's got some privacy. If he doesn't eat anything for 24 hours he could be in stasis and would need to see the vet as an emergency. Hope he's OK soon!
  13. Tropical are freshwater, marine are sal"Ooops, word censored!"er. Both types require heating. Tropical are a LOT easier as with marine you have to check salinity levels constantly as there must always be a certain concentration of salt in the water (you have to use proper marine salt, not domestic salt) and levels obviously change due to dehydration. Plus the fish are a lot more expensive, and there are ethical considerations - the majority of marine fish and corals won't breed in captivity so are imported from the wild. Marine tanks do look spectacular when set up properly and run well, but they are a huge and expensive commitment - I would have a go with tropicals first. Tropicals are pretty easy - I think much easier than goldfish as they don't need as much space and are cleaner. Get the biggest tank you can afford - bigger ones are easier to maintain than smaller as the waste is more dilute so they don't get as dirty. Get one with a heater, light and filter built in (although I wouldn't buy fish from there, Pets at Home have a good range) and you just plug in and off you go. Cycling means getting the levels of beneficial bacteria in the tank ready to deal with fish waste. Fish waste breaks down into ammonia, which is toxic to fish. Over time, bacteria breed in the tank which neutralise this ammonia so that levels in a mature tank should be zero. Putting fish into an uncycled tank is a common beginner's mistake which usually kills them quickly. Unfortunately, cycling takes time, and it can be hard to wait. The humane method is to set the tank up with heater and filter going, then add something to the water which will trigger the growth of this bacteria - you can buy drops that will do this, or add a couple of pinches of fish food. You then monitor levels of nitrates and ammonia until everything is at zero, then you can very slowly add fish ( a couple at a time, no more than once a week, so the bacteria have chance to increase the numbers to cope with the ammonia). The process will take about a month before you can start adding fish. A fish shop can give you more info and sell you testing kits to check water levels. The inhumane method is to add "sacrificial fish" to an uncycled tank - people used to recommend putting a few hardy fish in, like harlequins or danios, and then using the ammonia they will produce to cycle the tank. Some survive this, but a lot die and if they don't the poor water quality stresses them. It's totally unnecessary as there are alternative ways of getting ammonia into your tank to cycle it, as I've already suggested. Once your tank is cycled, good first fish are danios, harlequins, all varieties of tetras (keep a group of at least 6), corydoras catfish, platies and guppies. The last two will have babies if you keep both sexes, but if you want to avoid this they are easily sexed so you could just buy boys (girls will probably already be pregnant in the shop). Any babies are likely to be eaten though so I wouldn't worry too much. Some gouramis are very peaceful and look great - lace (sometimes called pearl) ones are my favourites. A red-tailed black shark is a nice addition if you buy a big tank, but they are territorial and can be nasty if they don't have enough space so make sure it has plenty of room. You must only get one too as more will fight. Angel fish are very pretty and easy to keep but only get them if you have other fish of a similar size, as they will eat smaller fish like tetras if they get the chance. Sorry, this has turned into an essay! Track down your nearest specialist shop - should be some in yellow pages. Don't go to Pets at Home - their fish are often diseased and I have time and again seen completely unsuitable fish housed in the same tanks at their shops - they have no idea about fish. Also, the forum at www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk has a wealth of advice from expert fishkeepers - I highly recommend having a read. There's a whole section about setting up a new tank.
  14. I don't think it's algae in the water bottles at PAH - I think they add a chlorophyll supplement which makes the water green. In their defence, the two PAH stores near me have nice big cages for all the animals and they are always clean. I still wouldn't buy an animal from there, but only because they give no info about their suppliers and I suspect they're the small animal equivalent of puppy farmers. I also get concerned with the size of housing they sell - although they've improved, some cages are still very small. It also annoys me that they sell giant rabbits (claiming they're "house rabbits" as if this is a special breed - any rabbit can be a house rabbit!) but only one very expensive hutch that is suitable, and no suitable run. Sorry - rant over, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Hope the hamster pulls through. The only advice I can think of is to make sure she's nice and warm and keep her hydrated.
  15. One dog, and shared custody of my Mum's (who was mine until I grew up and moved out) - he lives with them but they go away a lot and then he stays with us. Two rabbits who have devoted themselves to systematically destroying the garden, and assorted tropical fish. I really want rats but my OH would never tolerate them, sadly. Our baby is due in October so no more animals until he/she is old enough to get on my side about the rats....
  16. D'oh! Sorry, didn't realise someone had already said that. We have great tits in one box this year and blue tits in another...the babies are hatched and making a right racket in both boxes. Their poor parents are working so hard bringing them goodies!
  17. Karen Wren at www.rossrabbits.co.uk used to breed dwarves, but I think she only breeds French lops now. Even so, she may be able to point you in the direction of a good dwarf breeder. Her buns are brilliant - I have two and they are fantastic, great personalities. She really knows her stuff.
  18. I think it's because omlet intend rabbits to have 24 hour access to the run and never to be shut in the eglu itself. This would be very cruel and I don't like the fact that some people shut their rabbits in at night. Personally I agree that the space inside the eglu is very small. I think the eglu and run is ideal accommodation for rabbits during the day, but at night they should ideally be shut in a large hutch. There isn't room for any rabbit larger than a mini-sized breed to stretch out comfortably with legs extended in the eglu (I know this as I measured my rabbit when stretched out and then measured the littertray dimensions - you have to go off these, not the external dimensions that omlet features on the website - the inside of the house is actually very small due to the thickness of the walls).
  19. M&S have paid out very promptly for us with no quibbles, on both times we've claimed. The last time was for over £3600 for eye surgery! I would definitely recommend them. The policy we have also gives you unlimited funding per condition - some put a cap on how much you can claim per illness/injury, so watch out for that.
  20. Getting her spayed will make her less prone to bunny strops and PMT so will help in the long run, but it shouldn't be essential for a successful introduction. They need to meet on neutral territory - somewhere neither of them has been before, as buns are very territorial and right now they probably each feel the other is threatening "their" space. It sounds daft, but the bath can be a very good place for a first meeting! Keep it very short at first, just a couple of minutes at a time - eventually they will accept each other, it's just a matter of time. Then you can start introducing her on his territory (never on hers, as females are more protective of their space). Once they groom each other, they have bonded. Don't worry if one starts mounting the other (chances are it will be her mounting him) - this is just an expression of dominance. One of them has to be, and as soon as they work out who it is, the happier they'll both be. There's loads of info on the net about getting rabbits to bond if you check it out. Good luck and persevere - they will eventually love each other, promise!
  21. If the boy is definitely a boy (are you absolutely sure? Females do mount each other to show dominance. Does he have obvious testicles?), then I would say the odds are very high she's pregnant if they mated. You'll know in a month or so...don't worry, rabbits are usually OK. Feed her normal diet, but don't restrict her pellets - give her as many as she wants to eat. When she delivers, she should make a nest for the babies - if she doesn't, you will need to pluck some fur and make one for her. If any babies fall out of the nest they will chill and die, so you must check at least twice daily and put them back if they fall out (it's a myth that you can't handle them - it won't make her any more likely to eat them. She will do this anyway if she's going to, sadly. You should handle them daily and check they're growing properly). You will find she is quite a neglectful mother - she will suckle them only once or twice a day, usually at night, and the rest of the time will generally leave them alone. This is normal and nothing to worry about - in the wild it helps them survive as it means predators are not drawn to the nest by the presence of the mother. So let her out for a graze if that's what she normally does. Whatever you do, don't let her mix with any males from now on as she can get pregnant within 24 hours of giving birth! Once the babies are weaned and she's fully recovered, I would have her spayed - this will stop her having any more false pregnancies and also protect her from uterine cancer, which is sadly extremely common in rabbits.

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